Quick guide for roommate woes

Carly Besser Opinion Editor

If you knew that I live in a house with four guys, you would probably assume that we were the plot to some corny sitcom like “Three’s Company” but with reversed roles. As dysfunctional as it sounds, we live together pretty well.

I love my roommates and I’m very happy with our living situation.

However, my first roommate experiences were nothing that I ever hoped for them to be. In fact, some of them were pretty terrible. A few arguments and passive-aggressive passes later, I hope I can help.

If you’re an on-campus freshman at Murray State, there is a chance that you will be in the same predicament I once was.

That “personality survey” that you filled out to get the perfect roommate won’t necessarily save you from the awkward conversations and struggles of sharing a cubicle-sized room with another person.

Fortunately, there are ways around a bad roommate experience when problems arise.

Save the passive aggressive Post-It notes, please. If your roommate forgot to clean something, if they used your shampoo or if they ate your food, just tell them it’s not OK in person. Be firm, but not aggressive.

The creators of the Post-It probably intended for them to serve as reminders for things that are important – ­­ you know – like business meetings or homework assignments.

Even if you put a smiley face at the end of “PLEASE clean the microwave. It looks GROSS,” it doesn’t diffuse the hostility you just created.

Be clear about your pet peeves from the get go. When roommates first move in, they have to set ground rules with their resident adviser. You can’t expect your roommate to know you hate it when they leave the lights on if you don’t say anything.

If you tell them something bugs you and they do it anyway, refer to step one and get it right this time.

Don’t get back at your roommates when they push you over your limit. When you’re about to throw their food down the trash chute, stop and think. There’s a chance that you may have to sleep with them in the same room tonight. Let’s not get too hasty.

Don’t read this and assume that you’re in for a nightmare. I’ve met roommates who got along fine. If you open yourself up to your roommate, you might learn that you have more in common than you had anticipated. It will make the more stern conversations easier.

But if you’re ever feeling down because you feel like you lost out in the roommate lottery, just know that you aren’t alone.

Many students have to develop a network of friends outside their Residential Colleges in order to find someone they can see themselves living with next year.

If you feel like you’re about to blow your top because of roommate issues, there’s a quick fix. Leave the room.

Those corny campus events that people sleep through can serve their purpose for you to get some fresh air and clear your head. Just think of your room as a place to sleep in if things begin to feel hopeless.

I wish I would have used a better approach when addressing conflict between my roommates, but I did the next best thing and wrote a column about it. Everybody wins.


Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor